Tonight's special guest is Amy Oestreicher from Westport, Connecticut, a survivor of sexual abuse as a teen, domestic violence and many physical challenges. Amy wears a lot of hats .. as a PTSD peer to peer specialist, artist, author, writer for The Huffington Post, award-winning health advocate, actress and playwright. She eagerly shares the lessons learned from trauma through her writing, mixed media art, performance and inspirational speaking. She's currently performing her one-woman autobiographical musical "Gutless & Grateful". Amy explains, "I had a voice teacher when I was 15 who I looked up to immensely." But, she says, "I had no idea he was grooming me for two years." When she was 17, he made his first move. "I went completely numb and left my body. I froze, stopped eating, feeling and being me. I was too in shock to even understand what was going on. The abuse went on for seven months, week after week because I was too afraid to tell anyone." She goes on, "The more he molested me, the less of me I felt I knew." The abuse stopped almost as suddenly as it had begun, when at 18 her stomach literally exploded due to an unforeseen blood clot. She fell into a coma only a week after her breaking silence about her abuse." When I awoke 6 months later, I was very confused, to say the least!" She determined to make something of this experience. "I devised a program that combines Broadway theatre with sexual assault awareness and mental health advocacy, in order to empower survivors of assault and to create a more compassionate, open community. I deliver this keynote to colleges and universities, to promote mental health, provide hope, help, and save lives."
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